Department of Health

Freedom of Information

You can make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for yourself or on behalf of others to access documents held by the Victorian Government ministers or departments.

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 gives you the right to apply for access to documents held by government agencies and ministers. You can also apply to amend personal information about you held by government agencies.

You can request:

  • personal information regardless of the age of the documents
  • non-personal documents that are not older than 5 July 1978.

Personal documents can include:

  • Mental Health records;
  • Fairfield Infectious Disease Hospital records;
  • Psychiatric records; or
  • SafeScripts

Non-personal documents can include:

  • Briefings and correspondence between the department and a minister
  • Data on departmental expenditure (such as spending on office supplies or catering)
  • Policy documents.

Making a request

If you would like to make a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Health, you can:

Alternatively, you may send an application to the Freedom of Information unit at the following address:

Freedom of Information unit
Department of Health
GPO Box 4057
Melbourne Victoria 3001

You will need to clearly describe the documents you seek and for requests for personal documents please include:

  • Your full name
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • Certified proof of identity.

Please ensure the request is clear by providing as much detail as possible, such as the type of document/s and the date created (or a relevant time frame).

A member of the Freedom of Information team can help you make your request, please contact us to discuss.

Making a request for somebody else

You can apply for documents as an agent for another person. A parent or guardian may apply for documents on behalf of the child. You must give the Freedom of Information officer evidence of your guardianship status or your authority to act as an agent.

Exemptions

Exempt documents

Whenever possible the department will make information available. Under the Act, we can refuse access to information in certain circumstances. This includes documents:

  • Containing information provided to the department in confidence
  • Concerning law enforcement and public safety
  • Subject to legal professional privilege
  • Subject to secrecy provisions in other legislation
  • Containing information about the personal affairs of another person
  • Containing information about business affairs of another person or organisation.

Freedom of Information application fee

The application fee is $30.10 (effective 1 July 2021).

This fee may be waived if you:

  • Provide a statement of how payment of the application fee would cause you hardship
  • Are only applying for documents that relate to your own personal information.

Other charges

The Act enables us to charge, where reasonable, for access to documents. For example, depending on the nature of the request, we may charge for:

  • Search time - charged at 1.5 fee units ($22.50) per hour or part of an hour
  • Photocopying (if applicable) - charged at 20 cents per page.

If access charges exceed $50, you may be requested to pay a deposit. In these circumstances, we would notify you in writing. You can then choose whether to proceed or withdraw your request.

Timing of requests

An agency must make a decision on a valid request within 30 days of the date the request was received.

If you need to pay access charges, we will advise you in writing. You can dispute the charges. You will have 28 days to respond to this correspondence.

Once processed, we will send you a letter outlining our decision about your request.

If we are unable to identify any documents relevant to your request, where possible we will notify you within 30 days of receiving your request.

Consulting others

If the information we plan to release contains personal information about other people, we may need to contact those people to seek their views on releasing their personal information. When we do this, it may be necessary to extend the request time frame by 15 days to allow them to respond.

Requesting a review of a decision

If you are dissatisfied with the decision that the department has made in relation to your Freedom of Information request, you have the right to seek review from the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC). See the OVIC website for more details about this process. 

If you would like a review of the department’s decision, you must make a request for a review within 28 days of receiving the decision.

The Commissioner can also receive complaints about an agency's handling of a request.

Contact the Freedom of Information unit

Tel: 1300 020 360

Email: foi@health.vic.gov.au

Downloads

Freedom of information Part II - Information Statements

This page outlines the role of the department and provides a structured means to easily access information about key services, functions and reports.

Reviewed 22 November 2021

Health.vic

Contact details

For further information about freedom of information please use these contact details: GPO BOX 4057, MELBOURNE, VIC 3001

Department of Health Freedom of Information Team

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